Lisbon and Stockholm have opted for opposing mobility models – with and without restrictions. However the epidemic’s impact on their borders has not been in line with their neighbours, but rather, like those at the other side of the European continent.
Movement in Lisbon has plummeted over recent months due to the health crisis. In May, with the easing of restrictions fully underway, the circulation of just one in five pedestrians and vehicles was recorded compared to normal rates for the Portuguese capital at this time of year. This reflects a similar reduction to neighbouring countries’ capital cities, such as Madrid, Rome or Paris, although the impact of Covid-19 in Portugal has been much lighter than in Spain, Italy or France.
On the flip side, take Stockholm. Sweden has avoided implementing harsh lockdown measures. It is also the only country in Europe that hasn’t ordered the closure of any schools nor – in this case together with Bulgaria – workplaces, although it has issued certain recommendations on limiting these, according to Our World in Data . Since March, movement in Lisbon and Stockholm has been similar to that in their regions: the southern capitals have come to a standstill, the northern ones haven’t . Yet Portugal and Sweden have diverged from their regional trends in terms of the number of deaths per million inhabitants.
Lower circulation than the neighbours most affected by the pandemic
Throughout the entire month of May, peak road traffic in Lisbon was some 28.4%, recorded on Wednesday 13. Back then, Portugal had still not reopened schools, which would take place for some students the following week, although it had allowed – albeit with restrictions – the opening of certain businesses such as hairdressers, shops or restaurants, among others. Traffic in the capital of the neighbouring country, Madrid, was higher despite the much greater impact of the pandemic. The traffic peak in Madrid was recorded on May 17, with 36.8%. While it’s true that on that date some of the lockdown restrictions were eased , the first step in lifting lockdown – so-called Phase 1 – in the Spanish capita